Under-par Belgium humiliated in “Low Countries derby”

Belgium’s national men’s football team the Red Devils suffered their first home defeat in 6 years on Friday evening. In front of more than 43,000 fans at Brussels’ King Boudewijn Stadium, the Red Devils were outplayed and outclassed by The Netherlands. The Dutch won the match that was the first in both teams’ Nations’ League campaign 1-4. However, given the run of play their margin of victory could have been greater still. 

The result was the first victory for The Netherlands in a Low Countries Derby for 25 years.

Ten years ago Belgium beat The Netherlands 4-2 in a match that is seen by many as having marked the start of the so-called “Golden Generation” of Belgian footballers. Hopefully Friday evening’s abysmal performance won’t mark the end of a period of relative success for our country’s national men’s football team on the international stage.

The opening 15 minutes aside, the Red Devils were unrecognisable for much of the game. Romelu Lukaku left the field with an ankle injury after half an hour of play. This proved to be a turning point and from then on in the Dutch were dominant.

The Netherlands opening the scoring just before half time with a beautifully positioned long-range shot just before half time. 

Shameful defending


The national team coach Roberto Martinez replaced Hazard and Vanaken with Onana and Mertens for the second half. However, this did nothing to improve things. On the contrary in fact.

A disastrous pass by Boyata provided Berghuis with the opportunity to rip open the Belgian defence. His pass reached Memphis Depay who scored the first of what would be two goals.

On the hour Dumfries made it 0-3 with Memphis Depay making it 0-4. With defending of this poor quality even Thibaut Courtois would not have been able to prevent the Dutch from winning. Unlike the defenders, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s conscience can be clear.

With booing and whistling from the stands the many thousands of fans that had spent their hard-earned cash on a ticket for the game let their displeasure be known.

A late goal for Belgium by Michy Batshuayi did little to soften the blow. The match ended 1-4 to The Netherlands. A lot needs to improve if Belgium is to make any impression at all at the World Cup in just 5 months’ time.


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